After finally making his Ajax debut in the Champions League, Kaj Sierhuis will be looking to prove he can replace Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Kasper Dolberg as the club’s starting striker.

  • By Michael Bell
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Born in Athens to Dutch parents, Sierhuis moved back to Amsterdam at a young age and after impressing at local side WSV he was drafted into the Ajax academy at the age of 11.

Since then, Sierhuis has netted goal after goal at each youth level and earned caps for Netherlands at every age group up to the U20’s. During the 2016/17 season, Sierhuis netted eight goals in seven appearances in the UEFA Youth League and made his professional debut for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie, scoring three goals before suffering a knee injury which kept him out for months.

Sierhuis made his long-awaited return to the Jong Ajax line-up last November and quickly discovered his form to score 14 goals in 20 appearances as the Ajax reserves lifted the Eerste Divisie trophy. He scored the winner against MVV that sealed the trophy.

The 20-year-old made the Ajax bench twice before the end of the season but failed to make his first-team debut. Finally, in the first leg of their Champions League playoff with Sturm Graz in July, Sierhuis appeared from the bench to replace Huntelaar.

After making his debut, Sierhuis said he expects to remain as the third choice striker this season, “They (Huntelaar and Dolberg) are the numbers one and two, I know that. For me it is important that I have a good development this season as a third striker and take my chances. It is not that I see myself going through them this year, although I want to play as much as possible in Ajax 1. ”

Style of Play

Sierhuis is not a typical Ajax striker, who is exceptional technically, such as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert or Kasper Dolberg. He is more of a poacher who works on being in the right place at the right time to net goals, rather than join in the build-up.

He doesn’t go for a finesse finish and instead aims to hammer the ball into the net. There is nothing fancy about the way Sierhuis does things, but he is a natural goalscorer, similar to Huntelaar.

Sierhuis has decent pace, a strong physique and is good in the air despite not being too tall. His main strength, however, is his composure in front of goal and finishing ability with either foot.

What to expect from Sierhuis this season

Sierhuis is third choice at the moment but his debut in the first team shows the youngster that he is in Ten Hag’s plans. The form of Huntelaar and Dolberg has not been great since the start of last season and Sierhuis needs to be ready to take his chance should it arise.

For now, Sierhuis will be the starting striker for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie and will be aiming to net at least 20 goals. He should also make his debut for Jong Oranje over the course of the campaign.

Sierhuis is among the group of hugely talented young Dutch strikers coming through at the moment, which also includes Sam Lammers, Dylan Vente and Joel Piroe. Their development over the next few years will be crucial for the national team.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)